Makes 6 to 8 serving
1 ready-to-use pie crust
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons chopped yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium zucchini, sliced or cubed
1 small eggplant, cubed
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried herbes de Provence
1. Preheat oven to 400. Place the prepared pie pastry in a 9- or 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Line the pastry with a sheet of aluminum foil and add pie weights, rice or dried beans. Place in the oven and bake until the edges are firm, about 10 minutes. Remove the foil and the weights and bake until the bottom is opaque, about 2-3 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool. (The rice or beans used in blind baking can be reused for the purpose but cannot be eaten.)
2. In a heavy-bottomed casserole, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When it is hot, add the onion and cook until translucent, 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute or two, then add the zucchini, eggplant and pepper. Sauté, stirring often, until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper and herbs. Bring to a boil, stirring. Reduce the heat, cover and cook until the tomatoes have dissolved and the vegetables are soft yet still intact, 20-30 minutes.
3. Remove the cover, increase the heat to medium high and cook, stirring from time to time, until thick and jammy, about 20-30 minutes longer.
4. Spoon the ratatouille into the partially baked tart shell, leaving as much juice behind as possible. Fill to about 3/4 full.
5. Reduce the oven to 350. Place the tart in the oven and bake until the filling has set and the pastry edges are golden, about 15 minutes.
6. Remove to a rack and let cool 30 minutes before serving.
7. To serve, gently slide a knife around the edges to release any pastry that might be sticking, then remove the bottom and place the tart on a serving plate. Cut into wedges and serve warm.
Note: The secret is to cook the ratatouille until it is very thick, almost jammy. Vary the color and tastes by using yellow zucchini instead of green, green peppers instead of red and yellow tomatoes instead of red.